Defeat Jetlag & Jet Belly

Mariel Witmond
Mariel Witmond

23 September, 2022

Ever wonder why you feel bloated after travelling? Well, it turns out that the cabin pressure in your flight causes the gas in your stomach to expand, bloating your belly. Known by many as “jet bloat” or “jet belly”, it’s uncomfortable – and it’s totally normal. 

There’s no need to stomach the discomfort, though. In addition to doing things like drinking more water and eating less highly processed – and high in sodium – food on board (which causes water retention), moving your body after being sedentary for so long can be a great way to tackle both jet belly AND the dreaded jet lag!

Here’s a great yoga sequence with twists and heart openers that will help to detoxify and energise your body:

Seated cat/cows: Starting in a cross legged seated posture, bring your hands behind your head and as you inhale, draw the elbows back, open the heart and lift your head, drawing the shoulder blades closely together. As you exhale, bring the elbows towards one another, chin towards your chest, rounding out through the spine as the navel draws in towards the spine. Repeat 5 times.

Seated twist: On your next inhale, sweep the arms to the sky and as you exhale twist to the right bringing your left hand to your right knee and your right hand behind you. Stay here for 5 full breaths. As you inhale grow tall through the crown of the head, as you exhale use your left hand against your knee to twist a bit deeper (maintaining the length in the spine). Repeat on the other side.

Child’s pose: Place your hands on the ground in front of you, roll over the knees unravelling your legs and take child’s pose with your knees together and arms reaching back. Keeping your forehead on the ground or on any support needed, allow the knees to put light pressure on your stomach as your relax your upper body over your legs, bringing your hips towards your heels and opening into the upper back. Stay here for 5 full breaths.

Camel pose: Gently lift your upper body, raising your hips from your heels and separate your knees hip distance. Placing your hands on your lower back with your fingers pointing downwards, start to draw the elbows towards one another, opening the heart in a backbend with your hips pressing forwards and you head looking up. Option available to go deeper bringing your hands onto your heels. Take 5 deep breaths here. Lower your hips back onto your heels and bring your hands on your thighs with the option to close your eyes for a handful of breaths before coming into downward facing dog.

Forward fold: walk your hands to your feet at the back of the mat in a standing forward fold. Options to grab opposite elbows, bring the hands to your head and draw your chin to your chest, interlace hands behind your back, or simply allow your arms to hang down towards the ground. Keep a light bend in the knees and the head and neck fully relaxed. 5 breaths here, then walk your hands back to the top of the mat for Downdog.

Bend the knees and look forward as you inhale, exhale to step hop or float your legs through your hands into a seated position and come to lie down on your back.

Bridge pose: drawing the heels towards you, keeping the feet hip distance apart, press into your heels to engage your glutes. Hug the belly inwards and squeeze your inner thighs as you start to tuck the tailbone and lift the hips upwards. Shimmy from shoulder to shoulder to help create more space to open the upper body, with the option to interlace your hands behind your back. Stay here for 5 breaths and then gently release yourself down rolling vertebrae by vertebrae. Take the feet mat distance apart and windshield wipe the knees from side to side.

Happy baby pose: grabbing onto the outsides of your feet with your knees bent, try to keep your feet directly above your knees and your knees drawing down towards your armpits. Aim to keep the spine long, lowering your tailbone towards the ground at the same time as you try to lower the knees. If this feels inaccessible, bring the soles of the feet together and the knees apart instead, drawing the feet towards you. Stay here for 5 breaths.

Supine twist: release your left leg long and draw your right knee in towards your chest. Shimmy the hips slightly over towards the right side as you bring your right knee across your body to the left. Keeping the left hand on your right knee, bring your right arm out long to the right and take your gaze over your right shoulder. Stay here for 5 breaths and then change sides.

Finish your practice in corpse pose/savasana. 

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